Woman’s trek on ancient route across East Anglia tracing family’s story
- Credit: Archant
A widow from Colchester is taking on an ancient challenge to walk the length of a Roman route across Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk, tracing a story handed down through generations of her family.
Rosemary Jewers was left virtually immobile after several operations throughout her life, until she decided to take up walking last year and has since worked her way up to peak fitness.
The 76-year-old lives near Abbey Fields in Colchester and will be leaving from Balkerne Gate on Tuesday, September 22, for an eight day trek up to the North Norfolk coast at Holme-next-to-Sea following the Peddars Way.
Rosemary was born and raised in Little Massingham, Norfolk, where the route passes through and stories of the Roman road were handed down through four generations of her family.
Her great-great-grandfather arrived as rector to the Little Massingham Church in 1802 and his son and grandson followed in his footsteps as rectors after him, meaning the story was passed down eventually to Rosemary as patron of the church.
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She was inspired to finally take on the journey with her friend Rina Adams after the theft of lead from the church and it now needs to raise £150,000 to refurbish the roof – Rosemary is hoping to fundraise £5,000 of that from her walk.
Sir Bob Russell, High Steward of Colchester, has offered to walk with them up to the border of Suffolk and Rosemary said: “I really appreciate Sir Bob offering us his support and we hope it will be an inspiration to others to join us along the route.
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“Colchester people have been very generous and from early on started donating to help renovate this Norfolk parish church.
“The theft of the lead was devastating news for the parishioners and, as patron of the church, I really wanted to help the community.”
The trek was originally meant to happen in April but the pandemic forced her to reschedule, and Rosemary says the silver lining is that being able to go out walking was a real comfort throughout isolation.
“Having Abbey Fields during lockdown was great as I got to walk around that place until I knew it like the back of my hand,” she said.
“Once we were able to meet up with friends and travel I was able to get back out there and walk different routes which was just great and kept my fitness up.”